I was invited to moderate a panel this week at Brightcove PLAY, an annual event with some great panelists:

  1. Kate Walters (Senior Director, Video and Photo Products at Gannett Digital)
  2. Jeff Moriarty (Vice President, GM at The Boston Globe)
  3. Peter Cherukuri (SVP of Business Development at POLITICO)
  4. J. Graeme Noseworthy (Strategic Messaging Director at IBM Corporation)

I thought I’d pass along some of what our panelists shared with the audience.

The panel topic was how to personalize the video experience using data: what matters and what doesn’t. We started by asking if video has lived up to our expectations – if video today is what we thought it would be three years ago.

Kate Walters from Gannett said that while video is growing in an exciting fashion year over year, video traffic still lags behind compared to content Page Views – and she would like to see that change.

We then switched gears to talk about what signals publishers can use to create content. Graeme from IBM said publishers have an opportunity to take a holistic view by combining multiple signals versus a single input. As an example, we talked about looking at what users like to consume, analyzing what advertisers would want to advertise, and keeping the editorial voice driven by the editorial team. So that’s three signals – people, advertisers and editors.

I then asked the audience a question: if a user reads an article about President Obama, would you expect the publisher to recommend more Obama videos or interesting content for that user?

A few years ago, I think the answer would have leaned 90% to Obama videos. Today, it was 50/50.

Jeff from Boston Globe elaborated that for the most part, publishers would generally prefer to serve interesting content to their users, but they also want the flexibility to focus on contextual topics when it’s appropriate. As an example, in events such as the Boston bombing, recommendations needed to remain contextual. Kate Walters added that in some examples such as USAToday, a right rail unit could be dedicated to recommend contextual content, while end of article would serve interesting content for the user.

Lastly, we talked about third-party platforms such as YouTube, asking how and if YouTube can help create the video experience we want for our brands. Peter from Politico made a great comment, saying that it’s a shame if a publisher creates a great video, and nobody ends up discovering it. His point was that if YouTube can illuminate undiscovered content, it can help a publisher build video awareness. That’s valuable, even if the first view is on YouTube.

This panel was a great opportunity to interact with the people that lead this space, and I definitely learned a few things.

In the end, we all agreed there is a lot of room for “men and machines” to co-exist, whether it’s through data, editorial tools, recommendation engines, third-party platforms or other technologies. We also all agreed that video is strategic and can provide meaningful monetization, both for Desktop and Mobile.

And last, we agreed that the video vision is real; we’re just not quite there yet

Adam Singolda @AdamSingolda

Kate Walter @KateMWalters

Jeff Moriarty @jeffmoriarty

Peter Cherukuri @petercherukuri

J. Graeme Noseworthy @graemeknows

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